Saudis resist ‘throwaway’ culture of food waste

Riyadh, Dec 16 (AFP/APP): The plate is designed to make a meal look bigger — a gastronomic illusion and an innovative way to tame Saudi Arabia’s pervasive throwaway culture which results in colossal food waste.

Across much of the Gulf lavish displays of food are seen as a cultural totem of generosity and hospitality. But much of it ends up in the trash.

Saudi households typically serve large oval-shaped platters piled high with rice, a daily staple, but a lot goes to waste as many just nibble on the sides and rarely even reach the middle.

Entrepreneur Mashal Alkharashi is fighting back — with a rice plate that makes the portion of food appear bigger.

With a mound in the centre, the plate minimises the middle area, prompting people to serve less and save more.

“The innovative design, elevated from the middle, reduces waste by 30 percent,” Alkharashi told AFP, adding that the plate, adopted in recent years by multiple Saudi restaurants, has saved more than 3,000 tons of rice.

“This way we preserve the generosity part while cutting waste.”

The kingdom — which because of its limited arable land and scarce water resources is heavily reliant on imports to meet its growing food demand.

Many young Saudis are shunning a culture of excess to promote minimalism and meatless diets, among them the chef Almaha Aldossari, well known on social media as “The Bedouin Vegan”.

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